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National Good Governance Week 2015 is under way. This year it runs under the theme 20 years of protecting public: success, challenges and the road ahead.

The campaign aims to promote good governance and integrity in all state affairs and put the issue on the national debate. It also aims to raise awareness and encourage dialogue on governance among the executive, legislatures, government officials and civil society, and educate ordinary people on what this means for them.

The event is an initiative of the Good Governance Forum established by the public protector, This year it coincides with 20 years of the the existence of the Office of the Public Protector. The week will include, among others, panel discussions on issues of good governance, outreach events,visits to institutions of learning, and unannounced visits at public service points.

The week started with with a discussion on Interface (SABC 2) on Sunday, with the public protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela. She and deputy protector Kevin Malunga reflected on the office’s success and challenges in the last 20 years, and looked at the road ahead. She also challenged stakeholders to engage the office on its role.

“We wouldn’t handle 26 000 cases a year if we were focussing on high profile cases, which are few,” said Madonsela during the interview. “Those that have perceptions that we are biased need to know we aren’t pro-anyone.”

She added that most of the office’s work involves what she refers to as the Gogo Dlamini cases, through its 20 offices countrywide. The majority of the cases come through the outreach clinic, which has been cut down because of resource constraints. The office has been under financial and capacity pressure in recent years.

Today the Public Protector launched its corporate social responsibility initiative at Aurora Girls High School in Soweto. Earlier this year, Madonsela pledged a donation of R30 000 to the school towards for the building of the school hall – today she delivered on that promise.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela hands over a cheque of R30 000 to Aurora Girls High School in Soweto. Image: Public Protector South Africa.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela hands over a cheque of R30 000 to Aurora Girls High School in Soweto. Image: Public Protector South Africa.

“As the Public Protector team we believe there is a link between good governance and education,” she said, addressing the pupils. “Education makes sure that we don’t recycle poverty. Exams are starting this week – matrics, hold on to your dreams!”

The donation came from the public protector’s Ubuntu Fund, made up of staff contributions and Madonsela’s prize money from the ANN7 South African of the Year award for 2014. Madonsela won the big prize of that night in a category that included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, DJ Sbu, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Johnny Clegg, Jonathan Jansen and Leslie Sedibe.

The National Good Governance week runs from 19-23 October.